The menu read: “Lamb on the family spit”.
For a chef-prepared meal at a farmhouse rental in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, that’s an intriguing item to consider ordering - don't you think?
When we lived in Norway, we took a special trip one summer down to Italy with another family.
We stayed for a week in the countryside, close to Cortona, near the border of Tuscany and Umbria. It’s just the most scenic, “Tuscan” setting you can possibly imagine. This area was where “Under the Tuscan Sun” was set, and the whole idea of renting this property was inspired by that book.
This was the late 90’s, when everything about the world wasn't online yet. And there definitely weren't very many people using the web to book vacation houses in foreign countries.
But we found one. A perfect one. It was owned by an American and she had remodeled the old stone farmhouse into two apartments: one upstairs and one down.
As part of the rental, they had some special offerings:
One was a dinner, prepared by a local chef at the farmhouse, who was accompanied by an interpreter for all the people in your party, Italian style. There was a menu of selections for the courses and we all excitedly decided: When in Tuscany one must eat like a Tuscan! So we splurged and booked our dinner.
Our chef was a sheep farmer from Sicily who had cooked all his life and worked as a chef on the side. He spoke no English, but engaged us in all he did to prepare the meal.
The children made pasta with him; we all nibbled on courses throughout the meal; and, of course, we sipped more than our fair share of wine. The highlight of the evening was the lamb prepared on the “family spit”.
There was a fireplace in the kitchen. (Don’t all Italian farmhouses have a fireplace in the kitchen?)
Ever since I saw that fireplace in the kitchen I’ve been in love with the idea. And, even though I live in Texas and just a preheating oven gets me all steamed up, I would still love me a fireplace in the kitchen. :-)
You know: for the ambience it creates; for the aesthetics; for the idea that I could build a fire in my kitchen if I so desired, just like we did in Italy.
What about you?
Does a fireplace in the kitchen sound as romantic to you as it does me?